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Basic Information about StarSense AutoAlign

In the fall of 2013, Celestron introduced an accessory to add fully automatic alignment to their computerized telescope:  StarSense AutoAlign (Celestron part number 94005).  StarSense consists of a camera with fixed lens and a special StarSense hand control.  The camera mounts like a finderscope (in fact, you generally remove the finder and attach the camera in its place) and is connected to an Aux port on the mount.  The StarSense hand control is connected in place of the regular NexStar hand control. 

After powering up and starting the alignment procedure, the mount automatically slews around the sky taking images and recognizing the star patterns in each image. After three images, the mount has calculated the sky model and is ready to go.

The SkyPortal and SkySafari apps for Android and iOS are also able to use the StarSense camera to perform an automatic alignment when connected to a WiFi enabled Celestron mount.  In this case, the StarSense hand control is not needed, though the camera is not sold separately.

For mounts requiring an additional Aux port, Celestron sells an Aux Port Splitter (part number 93919).  Note that for the Advanced Series with GoTo mount, a special splitter is required: part number 93923.

See Celestron's website (www.Celestron.com) for more details including compatible mounts.  Notably, StarSense is not compatible with the original NexStar 5/8, the NexStar GPS series, the NexStar 5i/8i (though it is compatible with the NexStar /8i Special Edition - the orange tube edition with the non-removable optical tube) and NexStar GTs made prior to 2015.  With the NexStar GTs, if your GT is running a hand control with firmware lower than 4.21, it is not compatible.

The StarSense manual is also available at their website, though the most detailed user guide for StarSense is my book, The NexStar User's Guide II.

 


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